The Ninth: Beethoven and the World in 1824 by Harvey Sachs


Audiobook. The central date in this book, May 7, 1824, is the premier of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.  Harvey Sachs sets the stage for that performance, one that apparently was not very well done. The musicians' instruments were likely inadequate to the task and the musicians themselves had little practice for the performance. And so it was years before the brilliance of the music was appreciated. By the time of the performance Beethoven had been deaf for many years and had withdrawn from society years earlier because of it.  So we hear much about his cranky behavior.

The intellectual history of the time is very appealing and made me want to follow up on such figures as Byron, Pushkin, Heine, Stendhal. He briefly describes the politics of the time and its effect on the literary figures. 

I was happy to have such an interesting audiobook, but the detailed movement by movement description of the symphony was lost on me as I listened to it while walking. I imagine it would be wonderful to read it while listening to the music.

Add comment



Recent Posts


Blogs I Like